TikTok Tricks

If Fabric Pilling Or Fraying Is Driving You Mad, Try This Quick & Easy Furniture Hack

Eyeing the strings hanging off the corner of your couch and trying to budget for a replacement? There's a better way.

Originally Published: 
A cat is asleep on a scratched sofa
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Is there anything TikTok doesn't have an answer for? From learning how to cook broccoli to making DIY “breakastables,” the platform’s usefulness knows no bounds. This time, it’s showing you how to get rid of unsightly fabric pilling and dangling strings on your couches, ottomans, and other upholstered pieces. Anyone thinking any form of "what strings?" right now clearly doesn't have cats... or toddlers. Because although small children and felines enrich our lives in many ways, they can do a real number on furniture. If your cat has ever used the couch corner as a scratching post, you know the deal. Or, if your kid cannot resist tugging at any thread that is ever-so-slightly looser than those around it, you're nodding your head in agreement. Claws or tiny little determined fingers — it makes no difference. Either way, the nubby surface of fabric furniture is no match. Before you know it, your favorite cozy perch looks like a scraggly mess with pilling and strings hanging everywhere.

And, well, these are tight-budget times. You can't exactly replace a piece of furniture whenever the tiny claw-happy creatures in your home go on a literal tear. Here's where TikTok user MakeItLikeNew comes to the rescue. You can get your furniture lookin' almost brand new again — and you probably have everything you need to accomplish that already on hand.

Tools You Need to "Save" Your Couch

MakeItLikeNew uses two tools in this quick video. Both are probably already readily available in your home. Plus, you can really use one or the two in conjunction with one another, depending on how much those little pills and scraggles bother you.

  • An electric razor or beard trimmer
  • A sweater shaver

You’d use both tools basically as they're intended to be used. The beard trimmer cuts (or "trims") the longer strings, just like it trims longer beard hairs. Next, the sweater shaver trims things even closer to the fabric, like the leftover "fuzz," pilling, and string scruff. If you don't have a sweater shaver, this is your sign to get one. Just like it pulls off those tiny imperfections on the upholstery, it will do the same thing for all your beloved but well-worn sweaters.

If you'd still prefer to find a solution that requires no outside ordering, you have a few other potential options that people of the internet swear by:

  • Being very (very) careful, gently go over the desired area of your furniture with a sharp razor to remove pilling and threads.
  • Use a fine-tooth comb and scissors to play "stylist" — gently comb downwards, using the scissors to snip any threads the comb doesn't easily catch.
  • Roll a lint roller (or, in a pinch, a large piece of duct tape) over the pilling area of your fabric. This method is arguably the most tedious, but users say it's sticky enough to pull off pilling.

Ch-ching! Now you don't need to buy a whole new couch.

How to Keep Your Couch in Better Shape

You could easily work this trick into your monthly/yearly home maintenance routine, but eventually, you'd trim away all of the fabric. Unlike beards, upholstery obviously doesn't keep growing, right? While this TikTok hack is the perfect solution to fixing issues with your couch once or twice, the best way to save your sofa is to keep your cat (or toddler) from scratching it up in the first place. While kids are a bit harder to wrangle, there is hope for keeping your cat's claws away from fabric in your home.

Why do cats scratch furniture?

Scratching is an instinctive need for felines. They scratch for numerous reasons. Sometimes just to stretch or work out big emotions like excitement or anxiety. They also have sweat glands in their paws, so scratching could be their way of marking their territory. (And we'd rather deal with claw marks than pee stains, right?) They even scratch as claw maintenance, so remove the dead part of their "nails." In other words, you'll never get your cat to stop scratching.

Can you teach a cat not to scratch furniture?

Absolutely! While completely eradicating scratching won’t happen, you can "redirect" them to more appropriate and less expensive places to scratch. It's easier and cheaper than you think.

  • Use plastic guards on your furniture so that your couch is no longer a desirable place to stretch.
  • Try odor spray to deter your cats from scratching your furniture — just know it could deter them from hopping up for a cuddle, too.
  • Offer scratching pads or posts.
  • Keep their nails trimmed.
  • Use socks or claw caps (this should be a last resort).

And if all else fails, there's always another TikTok hack out there to save the day. Carpet wall, anyone?

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